A foster mother is facing trial by the Russian authorities after investigations revealed that she had been starving and giving drugs to her 11-year-old foster son left in her care in order to make him appear seriously ill.

The aim of Lyubov Korotkova according to the law enforcement agencies was to use the little boy as a conduit to claim sickness benefits from both the state and charity organisation.

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According to the mirror.co.uk, the woman in her late 40s has been accused of "extra cruelty, humiliation and torture" after she malnourished the child for eight years to mislead doctors into believing that her son was suffering from a rare condition.

Sources within the Russian law enforcement agencies say Lyubov Korotkova "made him take medical drugs to build up a clinical manifestation of a stomach disease.

"Having cheated the doctors, she managed to register her child as handicapped...and started receiving financial assistance, compensation and other allowances."

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The mirror reports that she was able to make about £20,000 in state benefits in addition to those received from charities - which she "frittered on luxuries", according to reports on the charges against her which include fraud and causing "deliberate health damage" to the child.

At age 11, Valery Kondourov reportedly weighs less than two stone and still fits in the same clothes he wore at the orphanage at age 3 before the foster mother began to take care of him.